Spring insect forecast

There's more than just looking at weather patterns when looking toward the bug outlook for spring.

Posted: Feb 27, 2018 4:38 PM
Updated: Feb 27, 2018 6:27 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - As we transition from winter into spring, insects will start to make their way out of hibernation.

But what does that mean for their impact on us?

Dr. Peter Coppinger from Rose Hulman says, when it comes to ticks, it goes a little farther than just looking at our weather patterns.

"One of the big predictors curiously, of how bad a tick season is going to be, is how good the acorns are two years earlier."

Coppinger says acorns are a food source for a lot of mammals and rodents. The more acorns, the more rodents.

The more rodents, the more ticks you can have.

"So, let's say you have an abundance of acorns in 2016, in 2017 you'll see an abundance of rodents, which is the host for a lot of ticks. So then the following year, you might see a huge outburst of ticks."

But ticks aren't the only pest that come around when the weather changes.

"There's always going to be a concern, when you have a warmer winter with lots of flooding, that's lots of habitats for these mosquitoes to lay eggs."

And when asked about the recent flooding, Coppingers says the previous season is more important to look at, rather than the current one.

"What's most concerning is to have that standing water when mosquitoes are out, actively feeding, breeding, and mating. So, I'm really kinda more concerned about the wet season that we had last fall than I am, for example, right now.

But the good news is, there are simple ways you can stay safe and clean.

"Probably the most important thing you can do is to try to limit their habitat. Try to prevent, for example, standing pools of water where they can breed. And obviously to treat your animals, and to check yourself regularly if you go out walking in the woods."

And by doing so, you'll keep your family safe and healthy.

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